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Mariner engineering and robotics program has good year

By Staff | Apr 2, 2011

The Mariner High School engineering and robotics program has had an extremely successful year with the students bringing home numerous trophies.
They recently brought home first place as a rookie team from the First Robotics Competition, which is a regional competition held in Orlando. They also placed 20th overall out of the 60 teams.
The entrance fee for the competition was $6,500 for a rookie team. Nowicki said a grant that they received from JCPenny and NASA provided them with the funds to enter the competition, buy supplies and provide lodging for about a dozen students once they arrived in Orlando.
Junior Paul Teleweck said he did not know what to expect from the competition since it was the first time they entered.
“The competition is a rush,” he said.
On Jan. 8 the team of students received its robotics kit and had six weeks to design, build and program their robot before they had to ship it back to Orlando.
Mariner High teacher Adam Nowicki, STEM instructor, TSA advisor and VEX, FTC and FRC robotics coach said they were only allowed to keep and continue working on the brain of the robot.
Nicole Ballman was in charge of research and making sure things were not lost during the designing and building process of the FRC robot.
The junior said she researched electrical work, signal lights and anything else they did not know online to complete the device.
Andrew Scarbroulgh participated by programming the robot, so humans could communicate to it.
The junior said programming a robot can be frustrating at times because “you have to get into the frame of mind of what you told the robot to do and not what you expect it to do.”
He said he enjoys working with the robots because it is satisfying to be able to get the communication to flow between the human and machine.
The competition consisted of three teams against three teams which were trying to grab inflatable pieces and place them on a rack. Nowicki said the points gained depended on the height of the stack.
Although they placed 20th, he said you should always strive to do better.
Since they were a rookie team this year they learned a lot of little things they could do to enhance their robot for next year’s competition.
“We are pumped for next year,” Nowicki said.
Nowicki said his push for robotics and competition is to create student interest and raise awareness of how cool engineering and technology is.
Those interested in becoming a sponsor or volunteer can email Adam Nowicki at AdamJN@leeschools.net .
The next event the Mariner Robotics Program will attend is from April 27-May 1 in Orlando for a Technology Student Association competition.
After launching the Technology Student Association Chapter this year, the students brought home two second place trophies in November from the Florida TSA Leadership Conference, placed in the top half in another competition in First Tech Challenge in Tampa.
The students also brought home second and fourth from the SumoBots competition.